We all know rich people face a number of potential horrors when summering in the Hamptons: the roadside fruit stand running out of tomatoes, the East Hamptons Starbucks misprinting “Miffy” instead of “Muffy” on their skinny latte cups, or even shrinkage after exiting an infinity pool. But now, Avenue Magazine adds one more potential pitfall to the list: entertaining.
Writer Suzanne O’Malley’s essay, “How to Lose a Wife in the Hamptons,” tells the cautionary tale of how a dinner party led to a marriage’s demise.
Not only does one have to deal with the menu and cooking, but even more treasonous is finding the proper person to serve. O’Malley and her then-boyfriend are thrilled when “Coco (whose complexion was indeed deep-dark cocoa) [had] arrived and surprised us with his spotless, starched white serving jacket” to do the deed. Next was the invite list, strategically broken down into A List and B List — the B List was invited to partake
in cocktails and then, in a perfect world, would seamlessly leave while the A List sat down for a luxurious dinner.
Clearly this posed problems to the hostess who, “was torn between bidding adieu to writer George Plimpton (I hate to say this, but he was the last of the B-list to go) and attending to composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who had already seated himself at the dinner table.”
Eventually O’Malley learned the ropes (and got hitched), becoming a self-proclaimed “Barefoot Hostessa,” who hosted many fetes over the years.
It all seemed to be going well — until she decided to to cook a friendly dinner for 40 on the bay beach with the understanding that her husband would grill the chicken. Alas, he disappeared, acting more like a guest than co-host. Another guest’s husband had to take over, which embarrassed O’Malley so much we assume she is actively seeking therapy to go with her alimony. But the real clincher was when this “wasband” launched a bottle
rocket into actor Griffin Dunne’s face.
O’Malley laments, “I went home that night and asked for a divorce. And that was the end of my life as a Hamptons chef.” [Avenue]